ARLINGTON, Minn. – It’s only fitting that an event set up to benefit a charity would have multiple champions.
The Pro Auto NYA Bull Riding event also featured a two-night stop of the Bullfighters Only tour, with three men competing in freestyle bullfights both Friday and Saturday. Beau Schueth posted the highest-marked score of the weekend with an 85-point fight on the opening night, then Justin Josey survived the final night to win it.
“It meant a lot to us to be part of that because it was for the wounded warriors and benefited that,” said Josey, 21, of Apache, Okla.
The Arlington stop is part of a fundraiser for the charity of retired NFL player Jared Allen, Homes for Wounded Warriors. The organization helps to build handicapped-assessable homes for wounded soldiers that have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“My bull came out but wasn’t as hot as I wanted him to be,” Josey said, pointing out that he needed to have a bull that stayed close to him to get a higher score. “The big thing for me was that I was able to stay on my feet. That was probably the difference.”
In fact, his fellow bullfighters on Saturday night were Evan Allard of Vinita, Okla., and Toby Inman of Davis Junction, Ill., and both were hooked and taken down during the contest. Josey, though, was able to match moves with Hookin’ A Ranch’s Stone Sober to score 79 points.
“That bull did enough for me to get the win,” he said. “It felt really good to finally get a win underneath me. You feel like you can do about anything. It’s like going on a hitting streak in baseball. When you’re in that zone, you can see the ball like it’s as big as a volleyball. When you’re not, it looks more like a ping-pong ball.”
That’s about how things are going for Schueth, who just a month ago won the Bullfighters Only stop in Sikeston, Mo.
“I knew I had drawn a good bull,” he said of Hookin’ A’s Claud Dallas, the same bull that helped Weston Rutkowski post the highest-marked fight in Sikeston and guided Ross Johnson to the victory in Burlington, Colo. “I’d seen him a couple times and knew he was really good. Being the first guy out, I knew I had to push in on him because I had Zach Call and Cody Greer in my group, and I knew they could be a lot of points.
“That bull came out really hot and never really did give me much space. I just kept switching it up on him. He finally left me and went into the muddy part of the arena out by the turn-back fence. I waited on the hard ground and got him to come back. I made some rounds on him and got one more fake on him and called the fight.”
It was an amazing way to open the bullfights in Arlington, a town of just a couple thousand people about 60 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
“The crowd was really into it and really behind it,” Josey said. “They finally got to experience freestyle bullfighting first-hand, and they really enjoyed it.”
So did Josey.
“I think it just boosts your confidence even more to know you can win a round against Evan, who is ninth in the BFO standings, and Toby, who has been around the world fighting bulls,” he said. “To go against somebody like that and come out on top is what makes it really cool.”
Confidence is a key for any bullfighter, who makes a living staring danger in the face and having the athleticism to get around it.
“This helps me out a lot,” said Schueth, 24, of O’Neill, Neb. “Every win boosts your confidence a little bit, but it also makes you want to compete even harder at the next fight. You want to keep that streak going.”
1. Beau Schueth, 85 points
2. Zach call, 80
3. Cody Greer, 76
1. Justin Josey, 79 points
2. Toby Inman, 76
3. Evan Allard, 71